I’d like to live forever, assuming good health, and so would most people. And like most people, I don’t always eat well, exercise enough, and I sometimes drink perhaps a bit more than my doctor would like. Basically, I have some bad habits, just like most of us do. How bad are these bad habits and how likely are they to shorten our lives?
Harvard researchers looked at 5 bad habits over a 24 year follow up period to their well-known Nurses’ Health Study. They looked at smoking, physical inactivity, weight, bad eating habits/diet, and not drinking moderate amounts of alcohol. Several studies have previously shown that moderate amounts of alcohol have a beneficial effect on your health.
Using statistical analysis and looking at the 8882 nurses who have died since the 1980 they came up with some not so shocking results.
Smoking was found to be horrible for your health, and 28 percent of deaths could be attributed to smoking. Fortunately, I don’t smoke. Next was physical inactivity, which was responsible for 17% of the deaths. I am physically active, at least most of the time, and hopefully you are too. Third and fourth and almost tied were being overweight and not having a good diet, at 14% and 13%, and I’m guilty of both. And last was not drinking a moderate amount of alcohol, and I drink at least a moderate amount so I’m not perfect here either.
So the results are really a confirmation of what most of us already know. To be healthy and live a long life, don’t smoke, exercise, eat well, and be thin. And we can also drink in moderation and feel good about that.
Of course knowing what to do and actually doing it are quite different. I am trying and making healthy improvements in my lifestyle and hopefully you are too. And with that, I think I’ll go get a glass of red wine and nibble on some organic carrots.
Harold Baldwin writes on many topics including health and gardening. His latest Website is Best Garden Hose where he writes on kink free garden hose and others.